Gawker: Times Spanks Daphne Merkin for Treating Cold Facts Like a Fictional Memoir

The Gawker Blog has chimed in on the Daphne Merkin case. That lady tried to whitewash her brother's reputation with a weird op-ed in Sunday's Times. She did not get too far with that one. We yelped about it right away.

Nobody cared when Daphne invented her entire personal history and published it as if it were memoirs in the media. But now that she is playing fast and loose with real life fact as if it was imaginative surreal fiction, she has hit a brick wall.

Gawker reviews the mess and concludes...
Now Ezra, who had "what is believed to be the world's biggest collection of Rothko paintings," has shuttered his fund, resigned as chairman of GMAC, gotten tons of bad press, and is waiting for the wave of investor lawsuits that's surely coming his way.

So it's not all that surprising his sister, a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, would try to do a little PR for him. Don't blame the big financiers, this thing is everyone's fault, hey! But it is pretty surprising the Times would allow such an obviously conflicted piece to be published with such a paltry disclosure. And the Public Editor agrees. A reader forwarded us this email they received from Clark Hoyt this morning:
Dear Reader:

Thank you for writing about the Daphne Merkin Op-Ed in Sunday's Times. I agree with you that the disclosure that Ms. Merkin's unnamed sibling "did business" with Bernard Madoff was completely inadequate. Given the degree of J. Ezra Merkin's involvement with Madoff, I think much more needed to be spelled out — including name, nature of the relationship and the subsequent lawsuits — so that readers could make up their own minds about whether any of it was relevant to Ms. Merkin's argument that Madoff's victims should be called casualties because they were eager to invest with him. Of course, they wouldn't have been eager to do so if they had known he was a swindler. And it has been reported that, in at least one case involving J. Ezra Merkin, his clients did not know that their funds were going ultimately to Madoff.

I have corresponded with Andrew Rosenthal, the editorial page editor of The Times, who agrees that there should have been greater disclosure. Mr. Rosenthal does not contemplate an editor's note. I am considering what I want to do about this.


Clark Hoyt
Public Editor
The New York Times
Not to be outdone, Brad Greenberg of the God-Blog in the Jewish Journal ("Daphne Merkin minimizes brother’s Madoff connection") chimes in with his own post of Daphne dissing:
Merkin includes this parenthetical: “(I did not know Mr. Madoff nor did I invest with his firm, but have a sibling who did business with him.)“
Did business. That makes it sound like Madoff and Ezra Merkin met a few times and talked work over lunch.

The two sat on the board of Yeshiva University together, and Merkin made up to $35 million a year from the relationship. NYU is suing Merkin, its moneymanager, for the $24 million it says it lost with Madoff.
Apparently Daphne, nobody has offered you any sage practical advice about how to deal with your family's disgrace at the hands of your brother, what you should do and say or not say in public or in print.

So we humbly step forward to suggest to you a (non-Talmudic) course of cautiously considered action for dealing with your brother and everything connected with his disappointing debacle, something subtly oblique, yet literate like, "This is the kind of tedious nonsense up with which we will not put!"

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